Container Gardening: A Mini Fruit/Veggie Garden

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Here is a roll call of the plants in this section of my garden: strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, peaches, apples, goji berries, pomegranates (Parfianka), Roger’s Wild grapes, King guava, sweet peas, nasturtium, tomatoes, herbs (sage, mint, thyme, borage), peppers, surinam cherries, and Improved Meyer’s Dwarf Lemon. The perfect spring weather this year has inspired me to start a mini fruit corner in my garden. Since I have limited space and tough clay soil, I chose to try some container gardening. I searched high and low for dwarf and ultra dwarf trees and researched how to keep trees small and productive. Many of the plants don’t require much space and do well in containers, and the others I’ve been told might need transplanting in a few years, or fertilizing in existing pots with some pruning. We will see how things grow; time will tell!

I selected this location because it gets a good amount of sun and in extreme heat, I have an umbrella that can easily cover most of the area if needed. This area is just right outside my kitchen so I have direct access to herbs and fruits if needed while cooking; and it’s also next to my water hose so watering is a snap! The space is tight, but it works at the moment.

Below is my jalapeño pepper plant with a larger chiliteppin pepper plant behind. They are surrounded by a few herbs (sage, parsley, basil).

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The top two photos are of my ultra dwarf Ein Shemer Apple tree. I found this at a plant show this year and thought I’d give it a try. There’s already two tiny apples forming!  The next two photos are of my Golden Dwarf Peach tree. This little tree is loaded with tiny peaches already (I lost count at around 16 or so)! I had to keep it netted and covered from the birds and possible rodents that may be eyeing the peaches.

Below is a photo of part of this fruit section. There is another dwarf peach (Honey Babe) and dwarf nectarine (Nectar Babe) next to it hiding behind all the netting, and a dwarf blueberry plant. The Roger’s Wild Grape is growing happily up the metal trellis (might be hard to see hiding in the back; more photos later), and below them is a row of strawberry plants that I began bare root 2 years ago. We’ve gotten quite a bit of strawberries already from this row of plants and my kids say it is definitely sweeter than store bought!

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Same with the blueberries below…this plant is so productive, my kids get their little baskets out after school and go picking for fresh blueberries. I just have to make sure the netting goes back on all the way so the birds don’t get to them.

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Above is a baby pomegranate tree…Parfianka type; I was told this was the best tasting species, but it will be awhile before I will get to find out!

Below is a goji berry plant. I was told this can grow into a huge monster so keep it contained. We will see how many transplants I will need to make…

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Above is a photo of the dwarf Honey Babe peach tree…the tag says it self pollinates but produces better when other peach trees are around. So I have the dwarf Golden Peach and dwarf Nectar Babe (nectarine tree).

Below are my baby surinam cherry plants, ultra dwarf Ein Shemer apple tree, and Roger’s Wild Grape (already producing clusters of tiny grapes).

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The above photos are of my Roger’s Wild Grapes and Siskiyou blackberries. Both are growing well so far. Don’t worry, that’s my protective rubber snake! I read somewhere that birds might be scared off by rubber snakes, so I’ll try this and see if it works. Everyday I move the snake around so it’s a bit more realistic. 🙂

Below is the other side of my mini fruit plant area. I planted some sweet peas (the scent is wonderful!) and nasturtium below the mini windmill. Tomatoes and herbs are next to it.

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And here’s the backside to that section…I have my King Guava tree next to my blackberries.

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And here I’ve got a lemon or two coming along (above photo). Below are my various tomato plants (blueberry cherry tomato, yellow pear tomato, and Supersweet Cherry tomatoes) along with basil and other herb companion plants.

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And here is my view as I step out from my kitchen. Everything is easily accessible and I can monitor for bugs and other potential pests. 🙂  I added a few roses in the area to add some color but also to be rewarded with a whiff of strong rose fragrance whenever I tend to the plants. Not to mention I just love the appearance of lavender/purple roses. Below is Angelface Rose…I enjoy admiring and smelling the strong citrus fragrance right before I go back into the house.

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Thanks for reading! 🙂

Roses in My Garden

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Purple and lavender roses…possibly the best smelling and most exquisite roses I have ever met. They say purple roses symbolize enchantment; in this case I was definitely enchanted.  I was at a plant show a few weeks ago (South Coast Plaza) when I saw my first lavender rose and I never thought I would grow roses in my super sunny garden (I have mostly succulents), but these were too beautiful to pass up!

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Above is the lavender Blue Girl hybrid tea rose. I don’t really see much blue in it, but I do see tinges of silvery grey in it at times. The petals are absolutely perfect in every way.  Just the right amount, and velvety in texture. I LOVE the strong citrus and classic rose scent in this one. When I first brought this home, my plant loving kids could not stop sticking their noses in it…and I don’t blame them! The smell is most intense I find in the early morning, before the sun and wind diffuses everything. The outer leaves get scorched in the sun a bit, but otherwise it holds its perfect form well.

Next is a photo of the floribunda ‘Intrigue.’ I wanted something darker purple to contrast with the lighter lavender rose above. This one was definitely the winner. Multiple roses cluster together in varying shades of purple. It seems the younger roses are darker and mature into a lighter magenta purple. The smell is just as fabulous…just the right amount of citrus and classic rose.  The leaves on Intrigue are glossy and outlined with a dark purple, which I find quite spectacular. The best part: it supposedly does well in heat, and we will soon find out. Of course, I would give roses partial shade in California anyway, but it’s good to know it can take some heat.

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Below are some photos of my miniature roses:

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I always like the ‘fire and ice’ ones and the classic pink ones. I’ve grown these for a few months but they are not fussy so I treat them like annuals. They have done pretty well in this lovely spring weather, but the only drawbacks are that they are small and don’t have any scent.

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And of course, here’s my wild rose: Lady Banks. Her scent is an extremely light lemon. I must admit, I’m not a fan of white roses. It does go well with my shabby chic garden, but I don’t know how big this one will get on my arch/arbor. So far it has not been blooming well in comparison to the tea rose and floribunda.

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Below are more photos of my new favorites: Blue Girl and Intrigue.

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And here are photos of them in my garden. One is in my potted urn, and the others are waiting to be planted. I might keep them in bigger containers as I read that they are less susceptible to disease that way and I can move them around until I can figure out the best location for them.

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Above is a photo of my shabby chic trifold I’ve had in my room for some time. After I planted the roses in the potted urn, I suddenly realized maybe I’ve had my inspiration for years right in front of me and finally acted on it.

I’ll have to admit…I’ve been spending WAY too much time in the garden. Between hiking, family outings, gardening, and the daily grind, it has been a struggle to keep up with everything. But in a good way as I’m loving everything I’m doing…I just need to really carve out time to write about it all :). More garden posts are coming because I have started a mini dwarf fruit section in my garden. But I’ve been researching how to plant roses, learning about possible mildew, rust, blackspot, pest problems, and wondering how everything will do, especially when summer comes and beyond. Anyone with experience with roses? I’d appreciate any insight in the comments below 🙂

Thanks and have a wonderful day! 🙂

Surprises in My Garden

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Spring has given us a surprise out of nowhere; an iris started blooming! I have a vague memory of an iris bloom a few years ago. I thought it died afterwards since it was buried in a pot with other plants and never bloomed since. I brought that pot of plants over to my garden when we moved.

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I recently noticed this purple beauty. I think the green spikes were camouflaged by the neighboring green plants for awhile. There’s 3 more buds coming! This plant survived the move, and is doing better than ever! I love when I find plants growing from (seemingly) nowhere.

Below is another surprise I found recently in my garden. I posted a picture of my dense clump of air plants a couple of weeks ago.  It hadn’t ever bloomed for me before, until recently…and what a sight! I love the neon pink and purple flowers!

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I just love surprises in the garden!

Thanks for reading! 🙂

It Is Easy Being Green: in the Garden

natureinspiredmom.green.jpgThe recent rainstorms brought out more greens than flowers in my garden. The flowers are coming soon, but for now, there’s no better time to enjoy the different greens that defines Spring.

The topmost photo is my agave attenuata. It is so symmetrical and perfect, it almost looks like a painting. 🙂 In the second row from left to right are: plush echeveria, unknown succulent (I was given a cutting so I have no clue…anyone know?), strawberry plants (strawberries are forming), and aloe. In the last row from left to right are: echeveria ‘Emerald Green,’ Aeonium, Haworthia in cluster, and Christmas cactus.

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Quick Garden Projects: Pallet Planter and Topsy Turvy Flower Pots

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With all this sunshine, it was finally time to clean up the yard and work on a couple of simple DIY projects that have been on my list. First up was this pallet planter. I was actually gifted this pallet last year, but I couldn’t decide how to use it in my yard until now.

At first I thought I would lay the pallet down and use it to grow veggies. But I already had plants in my previously designated area, and then the thought of the pallet taking up more functional space got me thinking of vertical planting. So hubby was gracious enough to put ‘legs’ on the pallet so it could stand up. Next, I happened to find these hanging pots at the dollar store (OK, these were $2 ones each), so I figure I would need 6, and it would be quicker than lining the pallet and planting internally.

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Then I had to determine where to put it. I have an area in the back of the yard that has sheds for storage. I’ve been using various plants in pots to cover the sheds, so I thought I would move things around and squeeze this pallet in. It turned out to be just the right height. So I spent the majority of my time taking out weeds and moving things around, but the pallet fit! Yay! And I created a wider path to it, so I can check on my baby plants easily.

I chose to grow some herbs (rue, mint) and begonia, aeoniums, geraniums, and some of my baby succulents in those hanging pots. This was the perfect corner for baby plants and shade loving plants as it’s under my orange tree. It gets sun just in the morning for a couple of hours. I left the other plants in the area in place, since it has done well there previously. My hope is that eventually all the plants will grow upwards (especially the firesticks and jasmine) and cover up the sheds in the area. 🙂 In the meantime, it’s a nice growing and potting area. Why didn’t I think of putting the pallet there earlier? Eventually I might get around to painting/weatherproofing the pallet, but for now, this works.

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My second quick project was this topsy turvy flower pot series stacked on a pole. I actually already had this sturdy 5 foot pole holding up a basket full of flowers, but little pots stacked up adds visual interest vertically and helped save me some space. I think the hardest part was threading the pots through the shepherd’s hook, but as long as I used a good sized pot with a adequate sized draining hole, it was an easy process. I had to make sure to fill with dirt and face the pots in their respective directions as I went along, but that was it. I added some baby plants, herbs, and succulents I had sitting around in my other pots.

 

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So these two quick projects helped me clean and organize my yard a bit.  Excuse the mess, but there’s definitely more to do! But I’m happy spring is just about here. And the garden…always a good place to lose track of time! 🙂

Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

Guest Blog: Creating An Easy to Maintain Mini Herb Garden

Happy Friday Everyone, and yay, the weekend is here! 🙂

 

Last week, Jen from GYPSYBUS28, made a guest post on my blog and shared her wonderful meatball recipe. I really appreciated her clear instructions and now we have a family favorite at dinnertime!

Jen writes about her passion for cooking, beauty care, traveling, and experiences in life at GYPSYBUS28. I am very honored to contribute a guest post on her blog as well. I wrote about Creating An Easy to Maintain Mini Herb Garden. I have reblogged my guest post from GYPSYBUS28.com below as well. It’s the perfect time to start, trim up, or add to a little herb garden. I hope you find it helpful!

 

Thanks again Jen for allowing me to guest post on your blog!

 

Thank you for reading and have a great weekend! 🙂

GYPSYBUS28

Hi guys, I hope you are having a wonderful day!

Today, I am delighted to have my blogging friend, Karen from Nature Inspired Mom, to share her experience of growing a mini herb garden. Karen shares her passion for hiking, gardening and healthy living on her blog. If you haven’t seen her blog, please check it out here  Nature Inspired Mom. She takes you on her hiking adventure and shares a lot of wonderful photos. Her garden section is just amazing. She has a variety of beautiful succulents. I have learned a lot about gardening from her blog.

If you like cooking, I am sure you would love to have your own herb garden. Fresh herbs give extra flavour to the dishes we cook. Certainly, they make the food taste better too. However, not everyone is good at growing herbs. Karen will tell us all about her favourite herbs…

View original post 2,114 more words

Oddities in Plants

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Doesn’t make the cupcake appetizing anymore, right? 🙂 This is my take on Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge. Actually sanseverias are quite good as house plants; this one is braided and looks unique. I wanted a houseplant near my kitchen windowsill and I happened to have a cupcake mini container. It was just the right size for this braided plant, so I plopped it in without thinking much of it. A combination of my favorites…a plant and dessert. Just a tad odd though. :0

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This is Euphorbia Flanaganii. Its odd appearance is part of its charm…in the middle yellow flowers are budding. Some people have nicknamed this Euphorbia Medusa; I am hoping to find a head/statue planter and put this plant on top. 🙂

Thanks for reading!

Nature’s Good Match: Air Plants Living in Trees

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Nature found itself a good match when it attached these little air plants/tillandsias to trees. Sometimes Spanish Moss will attach to trees as well (seen in picture above next to air plant). They all go together well. I envision jungles full of these hanging off trees. Here my little collection of ’tillys’ are growing well underneath my tree and attached themselves (a whole family of them!) to the log.

 

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In nature, these little plants anchor their roots into trees and gather nutrients and water from the air. They thrive in the dappled shade the trees provide, and produce pups and occasional blooms. I’ve seen some pretty exciting neon blooms from them…but since I don’t fertilize them (I’ve been told orchid fertilizer works), I haven’t seen much blooms.

Some people grow these air plants indoors and are quite successful. I found that these airplants don’t do well in my home in a terrarium nor sitting on top of cactus remnants nor shells. They sure look cute though and I had visions of them growing happily in my house. But soon, one by one, they started decaying and rotting. I gave them more attention, made sure they were dried off after watering, etc. but had no luck. Of the fifteen I started with, only 2 are alive indoors. I believe it’s lack of air circulation in my house. We have the air conditioning during the summer and heater on in the winter, and not much fresh outdoor air.

However, the ones outside beneath the shade of my tree have flourished. They love this recent rain and have gotten bigger and plumper. I was surprised to see how well they were doing…I put them there awhile ago and forgot about them until I was cleaning in the area.

I guess nature has figured out its own good match!

Thanks for reading! 🙂

 

 

Pathways In the Garden-Which Way to Go?

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Rain, rain go away…actually we need the rain, but just not all at once. These were photos taken of my garden during the calm before the storm. Now it’s so rainy and incredibly windy, I don’t want to go out there! But one thing for sure, I’m so grateful my hubby and I installed these pathways before all this rain!

 

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After we moved in, we quickly realized our humble backyard (see first photo above) would become one giant mud pit in a rainstorm since it had no pathways, and the grass was so nonexistent (from the drought), that we had just patches of unsightly brown weed/grass amongst the dirt. Luckily there’s a good slope so it drains well.  However the yard was just not ideal. During the summer, it was an undefined brown patch of dirt. My shoes were dirty whenever I went outside and there wasn’t much to do out there or look at. So this pathway not only allowed for easier navigation, but it defined areas of my yard so I could create and organize it.

This project was a labor of love that took several months. After thinking through carefully about how we wanted the pathway and where it would go and extend, we had to dig out the weeds, level out the land (keeping the natural slope), install weed block, buy many carloads full of pavers and rocks, define the pathway boundaries with edging, install each paver carefully after measuring it out, and lay down all the rocks in place. That was the first time I got huge blisters on my hands even with heavy duty gloves on! But it was done and fully functional. The secondary paver area to the right of the pathway was installed one by one a bit later, and connected with polymeric sand at the end. In the end, I think it was definitely all worth it.

In retrospect, we could’ve hired someone to concrete the path, but several estimates came in at way too much so we needed to attempt this ourselves. I also preferred the paver look and contractors told me it would cost even more for the labor. They astutely pointed out we’d get weeds in between the pavers but I don’t mind that. I suppose we could always take it out if we really hated it in the future, but with concrete it is so permanent.  In all honesty, I love it. And I’m grateful for my pathway. It takes me from one side of my house through the back to the other side of the house easily. We were able to design a path to my little ‘meditation corner’ and another to the gazebo and side yard. And my plants have a designated place in the yard instead of all clumped in one muddy/dirty area. Now, it’s all a matter of which way we WANT to go to enjoy our yard instead of which way we should go just to get around.

This is my take on Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge/Feb 17 2017. Thanks for reading!

 

Against the Odds in The Garden

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At first glance you wouldn’t think this is against the odds…just a picture of succulents and a bird. But in fact, it is THE elusive hummingbird that I have NOT been able to photograph (previously) with my iPhone for months. This little guy has been enjoying the flowers from my plants regularly but is so quick, usually by the time I hear him he is gone. I’ve been lucky to spot him from a distance and if I don’t move or breathe, he might stay long enough for one of my kids to spot him too. But this time, I was silently taking pictures in the shade of a nearby plant and heard him. Quickly, I turned around and since I had my phone on camera mode, started snapping away. Luckily I was able to zoom in without making the picture too blurry and did my best to keep my hands still. I was able to get a picture of this elusive little hummingbird before he flew off again. Now I know for sure he’s green! I have only been able to see him for a second or two from a distance and wasn’t even sure what color his feathers were until now.

Below is a picture that looks like an ordinary plant in the garden. But this tomato plant is really amazing and it has grown against the odds because I never even planted it! I had a heirloom tomato plant last year in the same vicinity, and when the mother plant was dying from the cold, I had to take the entire plant out. It wasn’t until weeks later that I noticed this baby plant growing in its place! Since then, it has really grown taller and bushier. My planter looks crowded because I never planted it there (in fact I put other plants in its place and of course those got shoved over). This strong tomato plant found its way and was determined to make this location its home. Bravo!

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What’s even more astounding is that this tomato plant has produced 5 tomatoes since  December, when it was cold and raining. Today there are 2 that are almost ripe. In this rainy year, I did not expect this rogue survivor to be producing this quickly. Nature never fails to amaze me!

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This was my interpretation of the weekly photo challenge theme: Against the Odds. I had to look no further than in the garden and am continually amazed by it. Thanks for reading and have a great day!